Yesterday, Wahine and I made our first jaunt since the pandemic–a dash, really–to Vancouver for the day.
I really can’t say enough good about Vancouver. It was a beautiful, warm early Fall Sunday morning when we arrived in the English Bay neighborhood for breakfast at our beloved Red Umbrella. People were out strolling up and down Davie, many with their dogs.
This is not necessarily in universal contrast to Seattle, but… People were friendly. They looked relaxed, happy and healthy. Clerks and servers were eager and helpful. Passersby were dressed better. The city was clean. The freeways, bridges and streets were in good repair. Businesses–even service stations-- had restrooms for customers. Despite (what we had read about as Van’s) opioid epidemic, we saw no panhandlers and no homeless tent encampments. Even the dogs passing on the street outside were chill and socialized. For all the high-rise development in Van, there are still large swaths of varied single-story shops and restaurants, rather than unwelcoming, all-the-same mixed-use spaces.
Specific to dining, we were told that the Red Umbrella’s kitchen was running 45 minutes behind in getting food out. No one got bent or raised hell or stomped out, not because the food is great (It is), but because people were unhurredly relaxed. Patrons held the doors for each other, said “Excuse me” in a polite, appropriate, defensive way. And of course our breakfasts were excellent. Payment is at the counter here, with patrons doing the non-spoof version of “No, you first”, No, after you, I insist" routine.
Another reason for our quick trip was to replenish our stock of over-the-counter drugs that (senselessly) are unavailable in USA without a Rx–which means a $$ doctor visit. Easy-peasy, and the store’s cosmetics manager fell all over herself comping Wahine with an embarassingly generous supply of makeup and perfume samples.
We sure missed Van over the 3-years of pandemic and related closures. We drove home vowing to return soon to replenish our stores of humanity and social grace that pervade this beautiful city. Can anyone describe from experience the NEXXUS interview process, to get approved to across the border fast(er)? Thanks.